Every now and then tectonic plates shift enough to make a big change in the market. The question out there is whether the Salesforce acquisition of MuleSoft is such a change? I believe it is, and I believe that not everyone has added up the meaning of the tremors leading up to it.
What has changed in the market? What are those tremors?
Well first, hovering around the integration markets is the boom of API Management. API Management’s roots though are not in integration traditionally. API Management emergence came to manage, secure and control APIs for consumption by developers. And what were developers doing with these APIs? They were developing and building new things, in particular, building whatever is the new experience, the new service, the new app, etc that falls in the umbrella of the term “Digital”. This quickly included opening APIs to the ecosystem of developers as APIs became a new B2B channel, a new revenue channel directly and an altogether new channel for co-creation – collectively fueling the API economy.
While this is a form of integration, it is very different than traditional multi-step process integration (the connecting of app A to app B and all the proclivities that comes with doing that to support a business process). APIs are now serving here as the new integration standard with SaaS integration as an introductory use case. As applications evolve to use APIs as their primary means of integration, APIs are the new lighter-weight integration technology. For the big ESBs, it is also here also where the likes of MuleSoft began adding API Management to their core integration technology, addressing APIs for integration, but also for serving developers. But, the trend I am focused on is the roots of API Management, fueling the API economy and where new experiences as the product of brilliant developers marry up with integration. This tremor was felt, but overlooked in its implications by many.
What has changed in the wider markets and in the competitive landscape of consumers of integration?
A whole lot we already touched on! First, driving the above is that the competitive battlefield is now experience, not just product and service but the overall experience – this is the experience economy. We are in the experience economy and markets are made and lost by a customer’s experience. An experience that is complete is bigger than one company or one line of business’s data and insights. As such, a complete experience marries data, insights and surrounds a customer with a holistic experience beyond any enterprise’s four virtual walls. Thus, by necessity, the API economy is close to its senior cousin the experience economy as both aligned to positively affect an organization’s profitability through innovation under this umbrella of “digital”.
What changed in the infrastructure landscape?
A whole lot! SaaS adoption is the norm and cloud adoption is the norm creating new and emerging integration requirements for companies to span. One of the tremors one might have overlooked was the subtle day that enterprises went from talking about the cloud as, “no not me”, to now cloud is a matter of how fast, how much and when it will take over as their technology platform. I need not mention containerization strategies and microservices, but would make a further point if I did.
The need for innovation, speed and agility
All of this really does have roots and fingers pointed at the need for innovation, speed and agility. Innovators are building. Developers are developing. Leading enterprises and startups are disrupting. All this requires access to data – and the key enabling technology is the API. Many are claiming capabilities here. Think about it – the big cloud PaaS plays, whose center of gravity is driving workloads to the cloud, all adding or toying with API management. Then the pure integration plays, whose center of gravity has been integration in many flavors, all adding or toying with API management.
But here with Salesforce is something different. Salesforce and Integration. Why? What does this really show?
The aPaaS market
This comes to one other technology we have not yet talked about and that is the many flavors of platforms that exist for building applications (the other side of middleware if you come from an integration mindset). There is the application platform as a service
(aPaaS ) market(s) of which Salesforce is the dominant leader for high productivity aPaaS (hpaPaaS). Per Gartner “High-productivity aPaaS (hpaPaaS) provides rapid application development (RAD) features for development, deployment and execution — in the cloud” – Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise High-Productivity Application Platform as a Service, Paul Vincent, Van L. Baker, Yefim V. Natis, Kimihiko Iijima, Mark Driver, Rob Dunie, April 2017.
There is the MADP market – Mobile App Development Platforms and then recent writing about multiexperience development platforms as experiences are much more than mobile. All this around tooling to rapidly deliver and run applications or apps and more so experiences. Tooling for the experience economy.
So, to the punch..
- Salesforce – the CRM and MuleSoft? CRM + Integration – OK, great. Nice bonus. Marriage of the SaaS / Cloud CRM with the integration tools to bring online. Faster time to success with Salesforce.
- Salesforce – the application platform as a Service + Integration – This gets disruptive. Here we have “engagement” technologies like API Management and the Salesforce hpaPaaS application development platform.
- Salesforce – the hpaPaaS + Integration + CRM core. Further packs punch to above as a complete view of the customer is key to customer-centric innovation.
The point that stands out is that integration and engagement go hand-in-hand. Building applications and experiences requires not only tooling to build the experiences themselves, but the maturity in management and access to data. API Management is at the heart of enabling this innovation. Further, App Dev, cross platform app dev, building new experiences is at the heart of innovation. The cousins API economy and the experience economy go hand-in-hand.
So a lot of tremors. Not least for Axway customers has been the marriage of integration and engagement in the API-centric AMPLIFY platform. Behind these tremors is the need to innovate and move at pace. Organizations have to evolve to compete. Innovation happens at the level of experiences.
“Every digital transformation starts and ends with the customer,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “Together, Salesforce and MuleSoft will enable customers to connect all of the information throughout their enterprise across all public and private clouds and data sources—radically enhancing innovation. I am thrilled to welcome MuleSoft to the Salesforce Ohana.” – Press Release “Salesforce Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire MuleSoft”
We welcome this shift in the marketplace as opportunity, as competition and as validation of our own strategy and customer success. Integration and Engagement. There are megaPaaS vendors that want your cloud business, there are integration megavendors that building from an ESB are adding API Management, and now the defacto SaaS CRM and leading aPaaS vendor wants to be your one-stop platform as well.